Frequently Asked Questions
What is the North Carolina Renewable Energy Tracking System (NC-RETS)?
NC-RETS provides an easy-to-use, Web-based platform to create, track, and manage renewable energy certificate (REC) origination for renewable energy production facilities, utility energy efficiency and demand-side management programs, and hydro power sold by the Southeastern Power Administration to NC municipal and cooperative electric utilities. NC-RETS will be used by North Carolina utilities to demonstrate compliance with NC’s renewable energy portfolio standard.
All certificates issued and held in NC-RETS are tracked using unique serial numbers. Account holders can transfer certificates to other account holders, and retire certificates that have been used for compliance with North Carolina’s renewable energy portfolio standard. The NC-RETS data infrastructure prevents double-counting of certificates and provides public reports and a full audit trail of all transactions, to ensure the integrity of the certificates issued and held in the system.
Is NC-RETS available for the state compliance program?
Yes. NC-RETS was developed to serve as the tool to implement and verify compliance with the North Carolina renewable energy portfolio standard. NC-RETS can also be utilized for transactions in the voluntary marketplace.
What is the shelf-life of a REC?
There is no shelf life for a REC as it can be sold on the voluntary market any time. However, a NC utility must purchase a REC within three years of its creation in order to use it for compliance. Once a NC utility has recovered the related costs from its customers, it must use the REC for compliance within 7 years.
If you have registered a facility with the North Carolina Utilities Commission, do you still have to register with NC RETS?
Yes. (See Commission Rules R8-66 for information on how to register with the Commission.)
What benefits does the NC-RETS provide?
- Easy to use, cost-effective, Web-based system
- No charges for renewable energy generators unless they export or retire certificates
- Transparent, high-quality, secure record keeping protects against double counting of renewable energy or energy savings
- Full documentation, public reports and detailed records for audit
- Knowledgeable customer support and training
- Tracks eligibility for voluntary programs such as Green-e Energy and the Low-Impact Hydropower Institute.
North Carolina Electric Service Provider Account: This type of account can hold, transfer (outgoing and incoming), and retire certificates. A North Carolina Electric Service Provider Account can also register and maintain projects and have certificates issued to it for its projects. A North Carolina Electric Service Provider Account is the only type of account that can retire certificates for compliance with the North Carolina Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard.
General Account: This type of account can hold, transfer (outgoing and incoming), and retire certificates. A General Account can not register and maintain projects or have certificates issued to it for projects.
Qualified Reporting Entity (QRE)/ Verifier Account: An Account Holder with a QRE Account is assigned to one or more project(s) and is responsible for providing energy output information for that project, such as monthly meter read data. A QRE account cannot hold certificates.
Program Administrator Account: This type of Account is provided to the North Carolina Utilities Commission and the Public Staff of the Commission as administrators of the North Carolina compliance program. It will allow them to review compliance of North Carolina electric power suppliers.
How does NC-RETS work for North Carolina’s electric power suppliers?
Each electric power supplier in North Carolina must comply with the State’s renewable energy portfolio standard. Some electric power suppliers have organized to comply as a group – such a group is called a “utility aggregator.” Each electric power supplier, or utility aggregator, must produce or purchase a specific number of renewable energy certificates in order to demonstrate compliance. They must retain those certificates in an account in NC-RETS until the certificates and related documentation are audited by the Public Staff and approved by the Commission. Once approved by the Commission for compliance with the State’s annual portfolio standard requirements, specific certificates will be retired, which means they cannot be sold or otherwise re-used. Electric power suppliers can also use energy efficiency and demand-side management programs to comply with the portfolio standard, and NC-RETS issues utilities EE certificates based on savings estimates that are subject to measurement and verification. Electric power suppliers will be billed monthly for the costs of NC-RETS, with each paying a share based on the relative size of their electric sales.
How does NC-RETS work for renewable energy facilities?
Renewable energy facilities must apply to be registered with the Commission. The Commission will consider whether the facility meets the definitions required by North Carolina’s portfolio standard. That is, whether its fuel source is, in fact, “renewable.” Once registered, the facility is eligible to participate in NC-RETS. The facility’s energy production data, such as a monthly meter read, is entered into NC-RETS. NC-RETS creates one unique certificate for each megawatt-hour (MWh) of renewable energy produced. The facility then holds the certificates in its account. Or, it can transfer the certificates to a North Carolina electric power supplier. If the facility owner instead elects to transfer the certificates out of state, or retire them directly, they will be charged .01 cents per REC. Renewable energy facilities must maintain their energy production data for audit by the Public Staff and the Commission. For facilities that produce thermal energy, NC-RETS will create RECs based on a conversion factor of 3,412,000 Btu per 1 MWh. In addition, NC-RETS has a bulletin board where REC owners can post that they have RECs available for sale.
What does NC-RETS offer the citizens of North Carolina?
NC-RETS ensures the integrity of the certificates, and hence North Carolina's renewable energy portfolio standard, through a transaction-based data structure designed to prevent double-counting and provide a full audit trail. Additionally, over time, NC-RETS will provide publicly accessible reports that list all account holders, RECs produced in North Carolina by fuel source and information on each electric power supplier‘s compliance with the portfolio standard.
What is the infrastructure that supports NC-RETS?
The North Carolina Utilities Commission selected APX to develop and administer NC-RETS. NC-RETS is powered by the most widely used, highest volume, and technically advanced environmental attribute tracking infrastructure that has been developed over nearly a decade. With more than 2 billion certificates under management, APX‘s infrastructure sets the standard for ensuring integrity in environmental markets. As an independent and trusted provider of infrastructure solutions, APX is fully committed to data integrity and security.
How does NC-RETS verify renewable energy generation?
Every renewable energy facility must be registered with the North Carolina Utilities Commission and provide NC-RETS a docket number for the order demonstrating such approval. Until this approval is received and the order posted on the NCUC web site [www.ncuc.net], the facility will not be approved in NC-RETS and will not be able to enter energy production data.
Who can use the NC-RETS?
Anyone can have an account in NC-RETS, if they intend to own RECs. There is no charge unless the owner retires the RECs or exports them to another state. Obtaining an account requires completing the account registration process, which is done on-line.
Who can register a renewable energy facility in NC-RETS?
The owner or agent of a renewable energy facility whose application has been approved by the North Carolina Utilities Commission, pursuant to the Commission’s Rule R8-66, see www.ncuc.net.
Who can register an energy efficiency, demand-side management or SEPA project?
Only North Carolina electric utilities or utility aggregators can track their energy efficiency programs, demand-side management programs, or SEPA purchases in NC-RETS.
Is NC-RETS an exchange? Can I trade RECs on NC-RETS?
NC-RETS is not an exchange. An exchange matches buyers and sellers in a transaction, and NC-RETS does not do this. Buyers and sellers may identify each other using reports and public documents provided by NC-RETS, but deal negotiation and financial transactions happen outside the system. Once the financial transaction occurs, the seller uses NC-RETS to transfer certificates into the buyer’s account. So NC-RETS is the system of record to complete the physical transaction, perform the transfer, and reflect the sale. NC-RETS has a bulletin board that allows REC owners to post information regarding RECs they have available to sell.
Can RECs from other registries be transferred into or out of NC-RETS?
NC-RETS is working with all other tracking systems in the United States to provide import and export capabilities for NC-RETS.
What information is public?
NC-RETS strikes a balance between respecting the privacy of certain account holders and providing the public with transparency. NC-RETS will publicly show a complete accounting of compliance with North Carolina’s portfolio standard. NC-RETS will provide a number of publicly accessible reports that provide comprehensive information about renewable energy projects without requiring account holders to disclose their current certificate inventory.
Who can retire certificates? Can I retire my own?
Any account holder in possession of RECs can retire certificates, but only electric power suppliers or utility aggregators can retire certificates towards compliance with North Carolina’s portfolio standard. An account holder will be charged $0.01 for each REC it retires for voluntary reasons. An electric power supplier must await Commission approval before retiring RECs for compliance purposes.
How do I register my renewable energy facility with the NC Utilities Commission?
If your facility meets the definition of a renewable energy facility whose output can be used to comply with NC’s renewable energy portfolio standard, you should apply to register the facility with the Commission. (See NC General Statutes 62-133.8.) The Commission’s Rules R8-66 explain the filing requirements. The rules can be found at the Commission’s web site via this link:
You might find it helpful to review similar submittals made by other renewable energy facilities. The following link will take you to a list of such facilities. The list provides additional links to each facility’s official Commission documents.
After you make the submittal, the Commission will assign it a docket number. The Public Staff of the Commission will review the filing and forward the Commission a recommendation within 10 business days. You can discuss the Public Staff’s review by contacting Jay Lucas at 919-733-1518.
Finally, the Commission will issue a final order either approving or rejecting the application. Once a facility has an order approving registration with the Commission, the facility owner can contact NC-RETS to register the facility in NC-RETS and begin to create renewable energy certificates.
What is the oldest metering data that can be used to create a NC REC?
The earliest date allowed for energy production to create a REC is January 1, 2008. Stakeholders have discussed a goal of having all “old” meter data uploaded by January, 2011. They have also discussed the possibility of allowing new projects to only go back two years.
Can a Project’s details be changed once they are “Approved”?
Only the Project Owner contact details, Facility Operator contact details and QRE can be changed by the Project owner once the facility is approved. All other details can only be changed by the NC RETS Administrator.
After a REC is created, can it be disputed or “adjusted”?
Yes. If it is discovered that a REC was issued in error, perhaps due to a meter malfunction, human error, or incorrect fuel reporting, NC-RETS will work with the Commission staff to determine the appropriate correction. This could involve issuing additional RECs, or creating fewer RECs for the Project in the next issuance. NC RETS will not make REC adjustments for generation that occurred more than one year prior to the current month.
What happens to the MWhs that are entered as decimals? Do they create a partial/ half REC?
NC-RETS will carry partial MWhs of generation (three decimals places) forward to the next month that is reported and add it to the new month’s MWhs until it equals 1 whole MWH. NC-RETS does not issue fractional RECs.
Should Projects enter their MW data as AC or DC when they registered?
AC, although NC-RETS does not specifically state that requirement.
When an Electric Power Supplier transfers RECs into its Compliance Sub-account for REPS compliance, if too many RECs are submitted, can those RECs be taken back?
An entity will see clearly in the compliance report if they are over or under. NC-RETS will give them a warning that they are not in compliance if over or under. The owner can transfer RECs in and out of a compliance sub-account all the way up until they submit it to the Commission for review. Once the Commission approves the sub-account, the RECs are retired and can no longer be transferred.
How long do Utilities have to put a Project’s metering information (production data) into NC-RETS?
Qualified Reporting Entities should upload production data within 30 days of the meter read. The Commission might require that all historic metering data (as opposed to current metering data) be uploaded by January 1, 2011. The Commission is also considering whether to limit new Projects from going back more than two years.
Regarding the functionality that allows an electric public utility to use the cost-recovery tag -- can the tag be placed on a batch of RECs by a batch file?
The Cost Recovery Report allows for batch claiming of cost recovery for a given year. There is no file upload for this functionality.
On the Bulletin Board, can you input information on the price of RECs that you want to sell?
No. You can only let others know that you have RECs available for purchase. There is no ability to list a price.
When a new user sets up an account and selects a QRE, does the QRE also receive an email notification of this new user?
No, but APX will add this feature in a Post Launch software update. In the interim, the QRE will access their Meter Data Loading module which will dynamically update when new projects claim a QRE.
Do you need a different file name when uploading metering data if there is metering data already in the system for that month? Will the new file overwrite what is currently in the system?
No, you do not need a new file name. Uploading the same file name with new data in it will override the previous data only if the Account Holder for the project has not yet Accepted it.
In the CSV file that we will provide to people who will report metering data, does the Header in the file have to written exactly the way it appears in the CSV file, with Lower and Upper case?
No, the lower case and upper case do not affect the file loading process.
Does fractional data in a CSV file go out to three decimal places?
Can you use quotes, dashes or spaces in the CSV file?
You can put quotes, dashes and spaces in the CSV file. Fields that contain a special character (comma, newline, or double quote), must be enclosed in double quotes. If a field’s value contains a double quote character it is escaped by placing another double quote character next to it. If you prepare the file using MS Excel, double quotes will be added where needed automatically.
If there is an error when uploading a CSV file, does the system tell the user what line the error is on?
Yes, absolutely. System will tell you how many lines loaded and if any lines had an error it will specify the line.
How big of a CSV file can be uploaded in the system?
There is no set limit. We have not run into any issues around the file size for any other registries we operate.
When specifying fuel allocation, how many decimal places are allowed?
There is no limit on the decimal places allowed as long as the breakdown among fuel types equals 100-percent.
If there is a dispute with metering information entered by a QRE, does the QRE receive an email notification?
No, but the Account Holder or NC-RETS Administrator will contact them in regards to the dispute outside of NC-RETS.
How many days of metering data can be uploaded for one Vintage Period in NC-RETS?
NC-RETS allows 35 days of metering data to be uploaded for one Vintage Period.
How do I Import RECs from ERCOT?
Please see ERCOT to NC-RETS Exports
Who is APX Inc.?
APX Inc. is the leading infrastructure provider for environmental and energy markets in renewable energy and greenhouse gases including renewable energy certificates (RECs), energy efficiency certificates, carbon offset certificates such as voluntary emissions reductions (VERs), and greenhouse gas emission allowances. With a singular focus on providing trust, transparency, and integrity for environmental markets, the company is the solution of choice for every major renewable energy market in North America and greenhouse gas markets worldwide. APX provides 24/7 support of environmental markets through secure, fully staffed and geographically redundant data centers. Users of these systems include all key market participants including brokers, corporations, generators, NGOs and government organizations. In 2009, more than 1300 companies across the US and internationally relied on APX for integrity in tracking intangible environmental assets.
APX also provides technology, strategic consulting, and expert operational services to assist wholesale power market participants to reduce costs and improve performance in power scheduling, settlement, market operations, system operations support, and demand response programs.
How do I get more information?
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